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The 19 most disturbing bits of the Daily Mail’s 42-page Meghan Markle coverage

Why.

The Daily Mail has dedicated 42 pages of coverage to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. FORTY-TWO. That’s basically a manifesto.

Anyway. We read it in all its daft glory so you didn’t have to. Here are the best (worst) bits:

  1. There are 42 pages in a daily newspaper about two humans getting engaged. Two human beings deciding they like one another enough to both write their names on the same piece of paper. 42 pages about this. Forty. Two.
     
  2. Interviews with jewellers, who value the ring at £50,000, £199,475 and “inestimable worth”. I want a fourth opinion.
     
  3. “Like a pair of lovebirds on Love Island” is an actual picture caption on a screenshot of their BBC interview. Has anyone at the Mail ever watched it?

  1. Jan Moir’s weird fantasy while watching the interview: “Harry could have been in a kilt and Megan in silky hot pants for all we knew.” Why would you think that? And what are silky hot pants?

  1. “PRE-MARITAL ROYAL SEX” CREEPY SPECULATION ALERT.

  1. Jeremy Corbyn is a bastard bingo! A pearl-clutching report from a Labour rally laments “shouts of ‘Who cares?’ and ‘Get out’” when a journalist asked the leader about the engagement.
     
  2. Diana’s ghost bingo! “Diana would have been thrilled” divines “the writer who knew Harry’s mother best”, in, of course, “a tantalising insight into how she’d feel today”.

  1. This absolutely batshit headline.

Having a royal wedding. What a maverick.

  1. A double-page spread about the utter non-issue of a divorcee getting married in church (spoiler: she is allowed to get married in church).
     
  2. Racism bingo! Markle “went from a seedy Los Angeles tenement to a Palace”, and gets her “hippy side” from her mum. Also, her engagement is being celebrated in “unusual, out-of-the-way places”. This is all from a profile of a “thrillingly unconventional future princess”. Hmm.
     
  3. Pop at the liberal elite bingo! Yes, it’s the inevitable Why the royal family having a “bride descended from slaves” proves “the sneering snobs wrong” op-ed. Complete with irrelevant paragraph about “‘decolonising’ the curriculum to boot off white authors”, of course.
     
  4. “VERY”.

V E R Y. VERY. Very.

  1. A creepy spread of intimate childhood pics of Markle and her parents dug up from somewhere – or, “MEET THE IN-LAWS”.
     
  2. A creepy spread of intimate teenage pics of Markle and her friends and family dug up from somewhere – or, “HER FAMILY ALBUM”.
     
  3. Complete with big red circles over her face, for ease of identification.

Thanks for that.

  1. A creepy rip of her Instagram – or, “HER OWN CANDID SNAPS”.
     
  2. Mainly poolside and seaside-based shots, of course.
     
  3. Crap grainy long-lens pictures of the couple at a Polo Club – or, “SHE’S FOUND HER PRINCE”. (Alternative title: “THE PAPS FOUND THEIR PRINCE”).
     
  4. Some very tame screenshots of a mildly saucy Suits scene – or, “TV ROLES SHE’D RATHER FORGET… AND THE ONES HE’D RATHER FORGET”. But Mail readers will have etched on their brains for all time.

I'm a mole, innit.

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People are not prepared to see innovation at any price - we need to take care of our digital health

Correcting the course of technology in Britain does not need to mean taking backwards steps and becoming an anti-innovation zone.

As individuals, we have never been better connected. As a society, we are being driven further apart.

Doteveryone’s People Power and Technology report, released this week, found that half of the 2,500 British people we surveyed said the internet had made life a lot better for people like them - but only 12 per cent saw a very positive impact on society.

These findings won’t be news to most people living in Brexit Britain - or to anyone who’s been involved in a spat on Twitter. The fact that we’re constantly connected to our smartphones has not necessarily improved our communities or our understanding of one other, and the trails of data we’re leaving behind are not turning into closer social bonds.

Many of the positives we experience are for ourselves as individuals.

Lots of consumer tech puts simple self-sufficiency first - one-click to buy, swipe right to date - giving us a feeling of cosy isolation and making one little phone an everywhere. This powerful individualism is a feature of all of the big platforms - and even social networks like Facebook and Twitter, that are meant bring us together, do so in the context of personalised recommendations and algorithmically ordered timelines.

We are all the centre of our own digital worlds. So it is no surprise that when we do look up from our phones, we feel concerned about the impact on society. Our research findings articulate the dilemma we face: do we do the thing that is easiest for us, or the one that is better for society?

For instance, 78 per cent of people see the Internet as helping us to communicate better, but 68 per cent also feel it makes us less likely to speak to each other face-to-face. 69per cent think the internet helps businesses to sell their products and services, while 53 per cent think it forces local shops to compete against larger companies online.

It’s often hard to see the causality in these trade-offs. At what point does my online shopping tip my high street into decline? When do I notice that I’ve joined another WhatsApp group but haven’t said hello to my neighbour?

When given clear choices, the public was clear in its response.  

We asked how they would feel if an online retailer offered free one-day delivery for lower income families, but this resulted in local shops closing down - 69 per cent found this unacceptable. Or if their bank invested more in combating fraud and cyber crime, but closed their local branch - 61 per cent said it was unacceptable. Or if their council made savings by putting services online and cut council tax as a result, but some people would find it hard to access these services - 56 per cent found it unacceptable.

It seems people are not prepared to see innovation at any price - and not at the expense of their local communities. The poorest find these trade offs least acceptable.

Correcting the course of technology in Britain does not need to mean taking backwards steps and becoming an anti-innovation zone.

A clearer regulatory environment would support positive, responsible change that supports our society, not just the ambition of a few corporations.

Some clarity about our relationship with web services would be a good start. 60 per cent of people Doteveryone spoke to believed there should be an independent body they can turn to when things go wrong online; 89 per cent would like terms and conditions to be clearer, and 47% feel they have no choice but to sign up to services, even when they have concerns.

Technology regulation is complicated and fragmentary. Ofcom and the under-resourced Information Commissioner’s Office, provide some answers,but they are not sufficient to regulate the myriad effects of social media, let alone the changes that new technologies like self-driving cars will bring. There needs to be a revolution in government, but at present as consumers and citizens we can’t advocate for that. We need a body that represents us, listens to our concern and gives us a voice.

And the British public also needs to feel empowered, so we can all make better choices - adults and children alike need different kinds of understanding and capability to navigate the digital world. It is not about being able to code: it is about being able to cope.

Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and well-being, and reduce health inequalities. Perhaps we need a digital equivalent, to protect and improve our digital health and well-being, and reduce digital inequalities.

As a society, we should not have to continually respond and adapt to the demands of the big corporations: we should also make demands of them - and we need confidence, a voice, and representation to begin to do that.

Rachel Coldicutt is chief executive of Doteveryone.